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Lawmaker wants additional judge for Indiana

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A bill proposed this week would add a new federal judgeship to the Southern District of Indiana, a recommendation that's been pitched for years but has failed to garner enough legislative support.

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Tuesday introduced the Federal Judgeship Act of 2009 that would add 63 new judgeships - temporary or permanent - throughout the country, including the one in Indiana. The Northern District of Indiana and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals are not part of that proposal, which has been co-sponsored by Indiana's Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh.

The text of that legislation isn't yet available, but a news release from Leahy's office outlines the new judgeships he's proposing.

Boosting the judicial roster in that District Court has been on the table for many years, and Leahy pitched similar legislation last year. That legislation made it to the Senate Judiciary Committee but stalled after Republican lawmakers declined to conduct a hearing for testimony.

This new legislation follows a recommendation earlier this year from the federal judiciary's policymaking Judicial Conference of the United States, which proposed adding those judgeships in order to help reduce the backlog in the nation's courts. The Judicial Conference also voted in 2007 to add another judge to the Southern District, which has had five permanent judges since 1978.

Timing of this legislation would benefit the Southern District, if passed. While the court has a roster of five active judges, one of those slots is currently open after Judge Larry McKinney took senior status in July, although he will maintain a full caseload until a successor is named. Also, Chief Judge David F. Hamilton is awaiting a confirmation vote by the Senate for possible elevation to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. If that happens, there will be an additional open slot on the District Court. If all that materializes, it would necessitate three judicial nominations for the court.

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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